Triptych of Fading Pleasure

 

Pleasure’s Fading Shadow

 

 

The child does not know the man

So as the fig does not know the fig tree.

And if the child knows the daybreak

The man knows only the dusk.

 

The cold shoulder of passing years

Casts a veil of black silk over the nine muses.

What you think you can enjoy forever

You learn that you can – only, a little bit less.

 

Like the dead white shells of runt snails

The vigour of your pleasure will fade and whiten

As the autumn of age descends and years creep and sag.

Pleasure’s death anticipates the dying of the soul.

 

Because you cannot be young forever,

Like all the burned-out stars,

Like the oceans fossilised into mountains,

All youth is forgotten and discarded without elegies.

 

Nobody knows the youth you once were. Nor do you.

Your posterity is dependent on hallucinatory memory.

Your maturity brings understanding and a dimming of the first lights,

Your appetites rot and even your shouts of joy echo hollow.

Only in sadness can you recall the exuberant pleasures of youth.

 

It will be a long time before you learn

That pleasure fizzles out hand in hand with your youth.

When you do, night will have fallen,

And all you’ll crave is the dying shade under the olive tree.

 

 

Farewell, Decay

 

I’m going on the balcony

To watch the sparrows and butterflies.

 

Down below a little boy runs like a bull,

And he’s bigger than the cloudless skies.

 

In the balcony nearby an old man has a smoke,

And he looks as shrivelled as the crumbling facades.

 

The reaper harvests his prey

Where he once cowered from predatory life.

 

Don’t show me.

 

I’m going on the balcony

To watch the sparrows and butterflies.

 

 

Elegy of That First Desire

 

As a boy I wanted to be a star,

The next morning, I shone brighter

Than the meagre cosmos.

 

As a youth I wanted to be a star,

And my light was a vicious storm

That drowned everything paltry in its path.

 

As a man I wanted to be a star,

All I could do was flicker in my domesticated

Corner of solitary, minute night sky.

 

As an ageing man I wanted to be a star,

So I became a star, though no one could see me,

I was a blind-spot in an ocean of starlight.

 

As an old man I wanted to be a star,

The kind whose only hope for brightness

Is the supernova of overdue death.

 

In death, I wanted to be a boy,

The next morning, I shone brighter

Than the meagre cosmos.

 

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